3 Ways Vets Can Get Free Tech Training

Capt. Andrew Byrd, 451st Flying Training Squadron combat systems operator flight commander, demonstrates use of a “T-28” computer simulator. Byrd designed the simulator to enhance technical training, allowing student CSOs to experience their role while orbiting a target area in support of realistic-looking friendly troops who can be seen on a monitor. (Photo by Randy Martin)
Capt. Andrew Byrd, 451st Flying Training Squadron combat systems operator flight commander, demonstrates use of a 'T-28' computer simulator. (Photo by Randy Martin)

While most tech jobs require advanced technical degrees, a growing number of companies and organizations recognize the value of military training. That means they are increasingly looking to hire military veterans and spouses.

The evidence backs up that choice. According to a study by Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families, military veterans and spouses are some of the best candidates for STEM jobs.

Perhaps that's why big tech companies and nonprofits alike are working to bridge the gap from experience to education, with free tech training programs designed to help vets and spouses get a foot in the door.

Why seriously consider a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics? Let the money do the talking. Thanks to demand, pay for these fields is on the high end. According to the U.S. Labor Department, "the national average wage for all STEM occupations was $87,570, nearly double the national average wage for non-STEM occupations ($45,700)."

Related: Search for Veteran Jobs

Military.com rounded up some of the best training veteran and tech training programs. Check them out and see whether one is right for you.

1. Apprenti

Apprenti trains veterans and military spouses to join the tech sector and places them in fully paid apprenticeship positions. Yes, you read that right, paid apprenticeship.

Apprenti is a nonprofit that helps diversify the technology workforce while bringing highly sought-after talent into an industry where, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every three STEM jobs available, there is only one qualified applicant.

Apprenti places the people they train into top-tier companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase. The Apprenti program is run by the Washington Technology Industry Association in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor.

After each one-year apprenticeship program is finished, participants interview for a full-time position with their host company. According to Apprenti, nearly 50% of apprentices don't have a college degree, and more than 85% are hired by their host company.

Visit Apprenti to find out more or to apply to become an apprentice.

2. NPower

Veterans and military spouses should take note of NPower. This national nonprofit provides full-service, soup-to-nuts technology training and career development, and even boasts a robust alumni network working for some of the leading tech companies in the world.

According to NPower's website, its Tech Fundamentals program is a 22-week intensive IT training program that includes 15 weeks of in-class instruction, a seven-week paid internship, mentoring from senior-level IT professionals and career-development workshops.

The program also offers the opportunity to earn industry recognized CompTIA, A+ certification, post-graduation job placement services and access to an elite and supportive alumni network.

Ivan Alvarado, Marine Corps Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, is a 2018 graduate of NPower and said that thanks to NPower, he secured an internship and full-time job with Deloitte.

"I really struggled when I transitioned, like most vets," Alvarado said. "But NPower gave me the essential training and support to really raise my confidence and land me a great job."

NPower operates eight branches in the U.S. (New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Texas, California and Missouri), in addition to its program in Canada.

Visit NPower for more information about its training program or to apply.

3. Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)

VET TEC is a new tuition and housing assistance program for veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs built this program after recognizing that two of the major obstacles veterans face that keep them from getting the skills they need for lucrative tech jobs are the high costs of tuition and housing. This program helps veterans by paying for the training and allows a significant housing stipend.

Here's how it works: Veterans choose one area of accelerated study from the following: information science, computer programming, data processing, media applications or computer software. When veterans successfully complete their coursework, they receive their certifications. Then a training provider assists them with their resume and job-search process to help them land a dream job.

One of the significant benefits of this program is that it doesn't use up a veteran's GI Bill entitlement.

According to the VA website, "if you have at least one day of unexpired GI Bill entitlement, then you may be eligible for VET TEC."

Visit the VET TEC website for more information or to apply.

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-- Sean Mclain Brown can be reached at sean.brown@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @seanmclainbrown.

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